How does a moonshiner know if his new batch is good? Especially if it is a recipe that has not been tested. Shake it to see how small the bubbles are and of course then a taste test.
Kingsbarns came into the March 25 Louisiana Derby unbeaten, but with only two career starts under his saddle. Running out of the Todd Pletcher barn, this son of Uncle Mo did not run as a two-year-old and began his on-track journey towards the Kentucky Derby on January 14 with a length and three-quarters win in a one-mile maiden race. This grandson of Tapit followed that with an impressive 7 ¾ length score at Tampa Bay Downs in a mile and forty-yard allowance race.
All that sounds like the ingredients for a fine batch of shine. Regally bred colt out of one of the best barns in the sport combined with displayed talent on the track. The only remaining question was the graded stakes strength of this particular mix.
Going to post against eleven others in the grade 2 Louisiana Derby, this would be the measuring stick for this lightly raced runner. As a two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby (2010 Super Saver, 2017 Always Dreaming) Pletcher understands the world’s most famous race is not won with an un-tested horse.
“We felt like he was a horse on the rise”, says Pletcher of this Spendthrift Farm-owned colt. “This race would let us know where he stands.”
After the gates opened and the mile and three-sixteenths were covered in 1:57.33 everyone knew where he stood. Breaking alertly under jockey Flavien Prat, Kingsbarns went straight to the lead from post 6. Guiding the field through some very soft fractions (24.71 opening quarter, 49.6 half mile, 1:14.69 three quarters), this son of Lady Tapit turned for home with plenty of gas in the tank. Crossing under the wire a geared down 3 ½ lengths to the good, he left little doubt as to his proof.
“We are super pleased with his performance”, says Pletcher. “He’s back at our Palm Beach Downs base in good order.”
With a trip to Louisville on the first Saturday in May now secured for Kingsbarns, the question is will he maintain that 100-proof taste and strength? Come May 6, the world gets another taste.